When you think of great beer cities, you think of Amsterdam or Dublin or Munich or New York or even Seattle. Denver doesn’t pop into your mind. And knowing that Denver’s the city that Coors built doesn’t help matters one bit. But strike all the memories of guzzling dank Coors Light in a basement while you strike out with a hot chick from your mind. Because Denver, good friend, is one seriously bad-ass beer city.
The key to Denver’s status as a seriously great beer city are the microbrews. And Denver has quite a few. But don’t ask someone from Denver (a Denverian? Denverite?) what the best microbrew is. Because they will slap you. Because they refer to microbrewing as "Craft Brewing."
Which is pretty artsy and haughty but who cares when the beer’s this good?
Some of the better "Craft Breweries" include the Wynkoop Brewing Company, one of the first breweries of its kind to set up shop in Denver. Must-trys include their Railyard Ale, the Quinn’s Scottish Ale and the Splatz Porter. But be sure to ask about seasonal brews as well.
The Rock Bottom Brewery is another great place to try. Their Molly’s Titanic Brown, an English ale named after Titanic survivor and Denver native "unsinkable" Molly Brown, is a place to start but all the beers are made fresh and on site.
The Falling Rock Taphouse is a local favorite that offers great beer, great food and (wtf) a live webcam feed of the bar. Yes, that’s a little emo of them, but everything else about the place screams "man," so don’t worry. The cask-conditioned brews are their specialty and are made like wine. But seriously, look at this place’s beer list and just try not to get all teary like us.
In Denver, it’s not about the beer, it’s about the brewery. Beers are produced in small batches based on the season. So the best way to experience Denver’s "Craft Brewing" scene is to go on one of the literally DOZENS of beer tours. Just skip the one at Coors.
One of the more expansive tours is the uncreatively titled "Denver Microbrew Tour". It’s a mile and a half of beer, buddy. You might throw up. If you do, you will be throwing up some of the finest "Craft Beers" in America.
But seriously, there is a lush and overcrowded thicket of beers available in Denver. These are the kinds of problems we like to have, right guys? But how do we navigate this thicket?
Ask Mr. Beer
Dick Kreck has the best job in the world. He is the "Denver Post’s" beer guide. He is professionally known as Mr. Beer. It is his job to drink beer and then tell us about it. But weirdly enough, Mr. Beer seems to be an angry, cantankerous guy (what, with the lawsuits and things like that).
But thankfully, we can ignore the storm cloud that has gathered around Mr. Beer’s life and just focus on his beer picks! Because who wants to know how sausages are made, really?
Mr. Beer has hipped us to the Big Beers Festival for example, where once a year you can sample from 150 different specialty beers. Holy shit. Thank you, Mr. Beer.
If you plan on heading to Denver, comb through the archive of Mr. Beer’s columns and find what you like.
And if you’re planning to head to Denver, make sure it’s in September. Because that’s when the Ten Day Beer Fest goes down.
10 Day Beerfest
Every September, for 10 days, Denver shuts down a section of the city and lets a huge selection of brewers and beer fans swarm in. This is the 10-Day Denver Beer Fest. This year, it’s from September 18th until September 27th. There will be 2000 or more beers from around 500 different breweries. That’s 200 beers a day. You won’t be able to try all those beers because you will die if you even try to. Now THAT’S what I call a great beer selection.